by Lawrence I. Charters, Vice President,
May 21, 1994 was an interesting day in the Washington
metropolitan region. It was the first genuinely warm, dry day all year,
and hundreds of thousands of people flooded all the roads heading
as long as it was outside. Somewhere between a quarter and a half million
of these people headed for Andrews Air Force Base and the annual Armed
Day Open House, with the U.S.
Navy's Blue Angels flight squadron showing their sister services what real
was all about. Arlington National Cemetery attracted a huge crowd of people
for no particular reason at all, apparently in anticipation of the Monday
of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
And at the Pi's monthly General
Meeting, hardly anyone showed up. Even one of the exhibitors was
it is tempting to blame it all on the sunny weather, a more likely cause
would be "too many variables."
Like most organizations, the Pi does best when meeting times, dates and
locations don't change. So confusion was expected in March when we moved
location, for two months, from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)
Tree Elementary School, an entire state away.
In May, we did an even
better job: we moved the meeting back to NOVA, crossing the Potomac once
And we also change the meeting day, from the fourth Saturday
the third Saturday, in order to
avoid conflicts with Memorial Day. We thought the changes were
publicized, but obviously we were wrong.
So we had our smallest
turnout of the year (71 people), and one of the exhibitors got confused by
date shuffle and arrived a week later. "I thought the parking lot
a little too empty," is how he put it. FontChameleon
the problems, Ares Software did a splendid job of making the meeting
a success. Rob Friedman, Chairman
and General Manager of Ares' OEM division, demonstrated an astonishing
new package, FontChameleon, that has some explosive possibilities.
under $200, this single package has the ability to produce scalable fonts,
either PostScript Type 1 or TrueType flavors, that look and act like some
of the most popular commercial fonts.
While this alone would be noteworthy,
FontChameleon's real power comes through the ability to customize
Do you really like Garamond Condensed,
but wish the x-height was a bit shorter, to present an Art Deco kind
of look? FontChameleon can create such a variation by just moving
a slider bar.
Want a very thin (or very bold) version of Trump Mediaeval? Move another
bar. Would you like a version of Avant Garde that sweeps backward, say to
speed? Not a problem -- another slider bar can take care of that.
you don't happen to know what x-height, oblique, tracking, and other font
mean, that isn't really a problem.
A preview window shows you immediately what you are doing, allowing you
to modify fonts almost endlessly without, literally, having the slightest
what you are doing.
Even more astonishing is the ability to blend fonts
to create entirely new fonts. You can blend two entire font families,
Bembo with News Gothic, say, to any degree you want, or merge just parts of
For example, say you like the Q in New Century Schoolbook, and wish there
were one just like it in Times.
Blend the two fonts together, with emphasis on the Q, and you'll have a
completely original font.
FontChameleon can also read font metric files.
If you are using one flavor of Bodoni, and someone gives you a file that
another flavor of Bodoni, FontChameleon can read the font metric
other Bodoni and create a font to match.
There are, of course, limitations.
Right now FontChameleon does not know how to handle true italics,
fonts, or calligraphic fonts.
But it has no trouble at all with serif and sans-serif fonts, plain, bold,
and bold oblique fonts, condense fonts, expanded fonts, and endless
of these and other characteristics.
Aside from the inexpensive price,
the other big surprise was the size: the entire package, including metrics
for 220 fonts, tutorials, the application itself, and the obligatory
Me" file, takes up less than two megabytes of disk space, and runs
in System 7 with just one
and a half megabytes of RAM.
It is a shame the turnout was so light; FontChameleon
is a genuinely original concept. Friedman was also a great presenter,
low-key and deliberately non-technical, but with a keen appreciation of the
package and the potential it has for revolutionizing not only desktop
but "electronic distribution" of documents.
was one of the founders of Bitstream, the pioneering electronic font
He obviously hasn't given
up the pioneering spirit. June 1994
By the time this
is printed, the Washington Apple Pi Semi-Annual Computer Garage Sale
Release, June 11, 1994) will be over. Thousands of pieces of computer
and software, plus other items having nothing to do with computers, will
changed hands. Just as much activity having nothing to do with hardware or
will have taken place, too, ranging from membership sales to an all-day
and answer session. At
least half a dozen people will complain "all this stuff" won't
their car, and ask for help. The garage sale volunteers will hold their
debate: shall we have pizza, or Chinese? July 1994
Village is scheduled for the July 23 General Meeting, showing off their
new telecommunications products. Joining them will be Microsoft's Home
demonstrating their latest consumer offerings (CD-ROMs, games and
applications). August 1994
Boston will be held August 2 to 5. This gigantic trade show
has a number of attractions: great bargains, the chance to see new
and the chance to sample Boston's history and restaurants. If you volunteer
work at the Washington Apple Pi booth, you'll also get an opportunity to
-- a treat after walking miles and miles through two exhibition halls.
General Meeting on August 27 will be hosted by the Games SIG (Special
Group). Traditionally, this
meeting is not limited to just Macs; expect to see Apple II, IIgs, and
even MS-DOS/Windows games. There is also a chance we'll have a surprise
that has nothing to do with games at all. September 1994
Apple Pi will be moving in September. If you have a big
truck, a strong back, and some packing boxes, or any combination of these,
save Big Bucks by moving ourselves. We are moving to save money on rent,
every dime we spend on renovating
our new quarters and moving the office will help save even more money.
no computer expertise is required, it would be Real Nice if we saw
other than the usual band of volunteers.
One thing that is not moving is
the General Meeting which, like the May, July and August meetings, is at
Virginia Community College in Annandale. Provided they finish writing it in
time, Microsoft will be on hand to show off Microsoft Word 6.0 and
5.0. Power Macintosh owners,
in particular, are keeping their fingers crossed, but both these
have been long, long anticipated. Drawing Winners Maze Wars (Callisto): Bill Wydro
BMUG PD-ROM (BMUG): Ken Clare
BMUG PD-ROM (BMUG): Thomas R. Reynders
BMUG PD-ROM (BMUG): Charles Stancil
Ares FontMonger (Ares): Robert Pagelsen
Ares FontChameleon (Ares): Ann Aiken Credits
Apple Macintosh IIci: donated by Falcon Microsystems
Microsoft PowerPoint 3.0: donated by Microsoft Corporation
Bernoulli 150 drive: loan courtesy Iomega Corporation
Proxima Ovation projection system: loan courtesy Proxima Corporation
Lounging TCS penguin: artwork by Nancy Seferian
Silver Spring Metro penguins: photography by Dennis Dimick
Dr. Fun cartoons: from the Internet via Jon Hardis and the TCS
Setup and worrying: Lorin Evans, Beth Medlin, Bill Wydro
Novice Corner, Question & Answer Help: Tom Witte